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January 11, 2024 Public Comment Submissions

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Non-Agenda Item
Name
Kimberly Aikins
Choose One
Current Staff
Date
01/09/2024
Subject
Master Facility Plan
Comments
The proposed consolidation of grades 1-12 into the currently-existing elementary building on the Tucson campus is concerning. Renovations in the current high school building for a new science lab were just completed within the last year, costing the agency nearly $200,000 and nearly 3 years to complete; having to recreate yet another science lab for our high school students seems like a waste of money. In addition, moving Kindergarten to the Birth to 5 center only removes about 10 students out of a current total enrollment of 125 students (which continues to grow). This means that we would be attempting to place approximately 115 students–ages 6-22–in the same building, which poses both impracticality and a safety issue of placing a significant number of adult-sized students in the same building as 6-year-old students.

September 7, 2023 Public Comment Submissions

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Non-Agenda Item
Name
Marci Barenburg
Choose One
Arizona Resident
Date
09/05/2023
Subject
Policies and procedures not being followed and current leadership.
Comments
ASDB and Annette have continued to fail at following policies and procedures from a complaint form in the spring. Annette defended the principal in her investigating herself in a formal JII complaint when the policies clearly state that it should have been handled by someone else. I spoke to the president of the board about it and to this day the compliant for the JII and the KEB complaint were never completed per policies and procedures or corrected to be closer to following said policies and procedures. Annette quit responding after my first interaction with her on this matter.

Annette mentioned at a previous board meeting that the Nov 4th issue never made it to her desk. Parents should not need to utilize OCR and the state ombudsman’s office in order to see policies and procedures followed. When parents e-mail and speak at board meetings, these should be seen as formal complaints, and if they are not, then the principal or other leadership should be recommending parents to the appropriate forms. As of now parents have to dig through policies and procedures and learn as they go to be taken seriously.

This administration needs to stop considering themselves as the be all end all with no consequences.

July 20, 2023 Public Comment Submissions

Submission 1

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Non-Agenda Item
Name
Dan McAlees
Choose One
Current Staff
Date
07/20/2023
Subject
Union
Comments
I wish to thank the Board for allowing me to present some of my thoughts. My name is Dan McAlees and I am a high school teacher for ASD Life Skills students. I have been teaching for 30 plus years. During this time I have seen staff have to go through some difficult situations with very limited support. This has led to staff retention problems and low work moral. I feel the Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind Education Association (ASDBEA) would help with retaining staff and improve moral. By knowing that having a dedicated support group for staff not only on campus but representing our needs with the legislator is a positive moral builder.
Also ASDBEA and AEA can work with ASDB as a team when working with our state legislation and their representatives for the agency’s concerns and needs as well.
I hope the Board will recognize ASDBEA and work together for the good of the staff and ASDB agency.

Thanks for your time,

Dan McAlees

Submission 2

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Agenda Item
Name
Soren Mickelsen
Choose One
Current Staff
Date
07/18/2023
Subject
Item(s) 6.01 and 6.02 / Human Resources
Comments
Dear Board Members:

Thank you for your time today. I would like to make a public comment regarding action points 6.01 and 6.02 addressing schedule changes for pay as well as proposed salary increases. Action point 6.01 seeks to make a conglomerate of therapeutic staff on one Related Services Pay Scale reflecting now social workers, educational audiologists, psychologists, amongst Occupational, Physical, and Speech therapists. As a related service provider, my steps for pay have been recalibrated. We will soon be recognized for years of service with the agency, which I appreciate very much – now we can move up steps.

I wanted to share that during the recalibration process, there are staff whose rate either did not change or went below what they currently make. For those in this situation, they would need to acquire more years of experience before their income increases. Historically, a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) was the only way related service providers could increase their salary. Action point 6.02 details plans for proposed salary increases. Teachers, some certified staff, and other part time / full time will be receiving a COLA – and it is much deserved.

Related services and other certified staff will not receive a COLA due to our recalibrated steps.
While the agency is moving in the right direction, I would further challenge it to understand that the cost of living goes up, and somewhat indefinitely for everyone. COLAs recognize this and when offered, communicate a sense of gratitude for doing a job we all love to do. ASDB has a clear goal in bringing forth the best when educating our children who are deaf/hard-of-hearing/visually impaired/Deafblind. ASDB could equally have a clear goal about committing to their employee’s financial well-being. Is it still possible to consider extending the COLA to all certified and non-certified staff whether full-time or part-time, including related service providers?

I appreciate your time to review my comment. And thank you for your commitment to our community be being here today.

Kindly,

Soren Mickelsen

May 11, 2023 Public Comment Submissions

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Non-Agenda Item
Name
Marci Barenburg
Choose One
Arizona Resident
Date
05/09/2023
Subject
PDSD Principal not following policies and procedures and lying to parents.
Comments
Within the ASDB policies and procedures there are timelines set in place on complaints as well as who can investigate certain complaints. The timelines are regularly not followed and in one instance, the principal at PDSD was allowed to investigate herself, which is also against the policy. When I filed a KEB complaint about it the Superintendent stated that the principal had been diligent, and Annette only responded to a small portion of what had been in the complaint. When I further responded, it was ignored. Stating someone was diligent without further explanation, does not make it so. The principal waited greater than a month to investigate a safety issue, changing her story multiple times while looking at notes. She expects perfect honesty and timeline recall more than a month after an event from a 10 year old, but can not herself provide that. I have this audio recorded and e-mails to back up these statements. The principal’s negligence in the situation led to a teacher having three orders of protection against her. On other JII complaints we requested to see video footage of what we were told the principal saw, and she said they would blur student faces and allow us to view it. This was never done. Per multiple staff members there are no cameras that directly face the W building that could see what the principal indicated she had seen. It is not ok for administration to lie to parents. This is only a small touch of the principal’s dishonesty that we have encountered.

This was the final straw for me and my family. We had to remove our student from this school. If we cannot trust administration, how can we trust our child is ok here? How can the Superintendent support dishonesty and lack of accountability from her principal?

March 02 2023 Public Comment Submissions

Submission 1

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Agenda Item
Name
Justin Klein-Edgerton
Choose One
Non-Arizona Resident
Date
02/24/2023
Subject
Do not renew one teacher’s contract
Comments
Hello,

My name is Justin Klein-Edgerton. I used to be a fifth grade teacher at Phoenix Day School for the Deaf back in 2019. I am writing this comment to state that I would disagree that on the board meeting that you are planning to renew a particular teacher Kari Gemar who worked for PDSD. I saw the news via social media and I am baffled at the comments she made about one student with additional disability. That was not okay and sadly, I am not surprised. I worked with her at that time. I may not be a great teacher, but I tried to do what I can then to support, care, and make the students’ environment safe then. And I do not believe Kari made the environment safe because she shows signs of audism toward some of the students and me as I am Deaf.

I hope you take those words to heart and choose to do the right thing: to not renew her contract. The core values of PDSD and the mission of the school was originally to make it a safe environment for deaf children of all age, ethnics, etc. And it is an environment where in a signing environment, it will help enrich their education. Kari violated the first one. I did not feel safe at the school when working with her. I hope you do not continue the audist climate that every deaf teacher was trying to avoid. We experienced it ourselves and it is our job to break that cycle. So let’s break the cycle!

Thank you for reading this comment!

Sincerely,

Justin Klein-Edgerton

Submission 2

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Agenda Item
Name
Richard McLaughlin
Choose One
Arizona Resident
Date
02/24/2023
Subject
*CONSENT AGENDA ITEM: Intent to Offer SY 2023-2024 Teacher Employment Contracts
Comments
Dear Superintendent Annette Reichman, Assistant Superintendent Cooper, Assistant Superintendent Martin, ASDB Board members and ASDB Community:

Hello my name is Richard Allen McLaughlin Jr. I am PDSD Alumni during 1993-2015. I am writing you to not recommend renew contract to Kari Gemar. During her 36 years work at PDSD. She have pattern behavior conduct to many students during her time 1986 to current have impact students trauma and emotion change because how she treat students are not appropriation. She keep get away from it from many students’ parent complaint against her and administration continue to sweep under rug. She have full of accountability for her actions. Please listen to PDSD Community and take accountability and make right decision to not renew her contract. Thank you

Submission 3

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Agenda Item
Name
Richard McLaughlin
Choose One
Arizona Resident
Date
02/24/2023
Subject
DISCUSSION & POSSIBLE ACTION ITEM: Consideration and Possible Action Regarding Superintendent Reichman’s Employment Contract
Comments
Dear Superintendent Annette Reichman, Assistant Superintendent Cooper, Assistant Superintendent Martin, ASDB Board members and ASDB Community:

Hello my name is Richard Allen McLaughlin Jr. I am PDSD Alumni during 1993-2015. I am writing you to not recommend renew contract to Superintendent Annette Reichman. I am very disappointed that Superintendent Reichman confessed that she decide that ASL is not priority last year during board meeting. She downplay during November 2022 until current about PDSD Situation and have not willing to listen PDSD Community and Parent of PDSD Students and meeting with them and ask what PDSD Community and PDSD Parent want to make PDSD a safe school environments that Students and Staff should feel safety on campus. I feel that Superintendent Reichman is not fit ASDB anymore Please listen to PDSD Community and take accountability and make right decision to not renew her contract. Thank you.

Submission 4

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Agenda Item
Name
Richard McLaughlin
Choose One
Arizona Resident
Date
02/24/2023
Subject
DISCUSSION & POSSIBLE ACTION: SB 1402
Comments
Dear Superintendent Annette Reichman, Assistant Superintendent Cooper, Assistant Superintendent Martin, ASDB Board members and ASDB Community:

Hello my name is Richard Allen McLaughlin Jr. I am PDSD Alumni during 1993-2015. I am writing you to concern about SB 1402 and ask you to opposite this bill. I am former student of PDSD, I am deaf also proud to be deaf community and PDSD will always my second home because I grew up there, There only Deaf Schools that can provide full accessibly to ASL, Full high quality trained teachers that specialize in Deaf Education as well Blind Education that have full knowledge and focus to Deaf/ Hard of Hearing and Blind students. I am really appalled by the bill. It is clearly hastily and slopped draft and have no evidence that have support to proved by research and resources. A all program for ALL disabled children with less qualification for teachers. I feel its not fair for ASDB/PDSD Students and Parent. Legislation have not yet consulted or involved in the development of the bill from ASDB Administration, Parents, alumni and Deaf and Blind community. We was surprised that learn this Bill when we found out by social media that Legislation have consider to remove name of ASDB/PDSD to Arizona School for Disability. Many of us are proud alumni of PDSD/ASDB because We went there and grew up there our fond memories there. Please consider to opposite this bill and SAVE ASDB/PDSD to continue best quality education for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Blind students that have best quality education and accessibly. Please take accountability and make right decision to not support SB1402. Thank you.

Submission 5

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Agenda Item
Name
Jason Dreyer
Choose One
Arizona Resident
Date
02/25/2023
Subject
Profound Deaf Education
Comments
Please allow me brief introduction about myself. I am a profound deaf man who grew up in an oral program. There were struggle in schooling due to language deprivation until I learned American Sign Language at teen age. My English started improving afterward. It is very critical that these profound deaf kids have proper education for their future.

Could you image that if I stayed in this oral program? I wouldn’t have made it to college due to lack of communication and written English skills. I wouldn’t have succeeded it with my bachelor’s degree and about 5 computer certifications. I would end up working in a factory like a retarded person and work repeating tasks with my potential intelligence trapped. It is very important to us profound deaf people that we learn our American Sign Language.

Accepting the Alexander Graham Bell funds is wrong choice for this deaf school. It is potentially lead the school convert into oral program and going into wrong direction. It is understandable that the school need funds to keep operate but it is wrong future for us deaf community.

Lead-K bill is very essential for deaf kid’s future because it will set them on the right path of their lifestyle. For instance, an audiogram test shows kid’s hearing is at severe or profound level. This is clearly a bad choice to place this kid in oral program without learning American Sign Language. This includes cochlear implantation ineffective to improve spoken language. It is best to provide them a proper education that comes with American Sign Language.

Lead-K bill will help deaf kid’s parent have better understanding of the choice and consequence in the future. It is very important bill that needed to be pass. My grandfather once said that he finally understand how hard it is after he lost all of his hearing due to old age. Also, it took my father so many years to realize that oral program was wrong program for me. He regretted it for believing that oral program’s director opinion.

Please understand that pushing and putting us into wrong education could destroy our one life. We all live in one life. Why destroy deaf kid’s future and life?

Another issue regard to SB 1402 being in process into the law. This is bad bill because it destroys the school objectivity to educate deaf community. This school education prepares us to live independently in real world. This will create more fund demand because they have other disability that need different resources to support them. This will not help by improve this school much needed fund. I urge you to vote “NO” on this bill.

We, the deaf community, have our own purpose to be here by God. We are part of diversity, and this type of behavior does not inclusive us into our diversity. You are pushing us out because doctors think they can fix us. Purely wrong!

Thank you!

Submission 6

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Non-Agenda Item
Name
Talitia Nevins
Choose One
Parent of Current StudentArizona Resident
Date
02/27/2023
Subject
Falling apart
Comments
It has been nearly 4 months that I’ve stood up and brought my issues at PDSD. No transparency but excuses. Superintendent took her time to inform other mother admitting that the communication wasn’t there. She couldn’t do that for me? Suicide in young boys are on rise- the youngest one was 5. My life hasn’t been same since it happened. It has gotten more stressful where I’d find myself checking on my son middle of night to make sure he’s in bed and breathing. My sons teacher, school counselor and school psychologist all have said same thing… “ He is not happy child, he has changed, he’s more angry.” That came from professional PDSD staff. School psychologist even herself said he’s potentially being bullied from her observation unknowingly that he ALREADY has been bullied. He has been slapped, pushed. Names were called. Those kids even threaten him if he reported and they’d tell that teacher. Leaving him in fear and all the anger he held inside. I’ve approached school about this. This is wrong. This all went downhill since it has happened. And i felt you all failed him. God knows how many kids you have failed in past. Blowing all smokes up our butts. Hoping this will go away. So much I want to say more but I’ve seen all signs that PDSD is failing. Staffs are leaving. AG bell. Superintendent admitting about not prioritizing ASL. Possibility of becoming full on disability school where you’d be overflood with children unable to provide full on resources which PDSD has already struggled with! I’m mindblown. It’s more obvious that my kids shouldn’t be attending PDSD anymore. I hope more will follow afterwards. I’ve heard some are considering leaving. I mean..that has happened in past. I honestly can say only reason why PDSD still is barely running. Staffs. SOME of staffs are heart and souls of that school. Without them, PDSD will be nothing. I’m done. You guys need to wake up. You’re doing more harm than good.

Submission 7

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Non-Agenda Item
Name
Valeria Campos
Choose One
Current StaffArizona Resident
Date
02/27/2023
Subject
Senate Bill 1402
Comments
This message is in regards to the Senate Bill 1402 that will have a devastating impact on ASDB/PDSD if passed. The amended version of Senate Bill 1402 would without a doubt destroy the purpose and quality of education at ASDB. The bill seeks to open up the school to include students with disabilities other than deaf and/or blind. ASDB has specialized staff that are uniquely qualified to teach deaf and/or blind students, and they are not equipped to teach students with other disabilities. Teachers are trained to specialize their teaching based on the specific disability of students. Consequently, any effort to immediately expand the scope of ASDB would result in a deterioration of services for the current student population at the school and also fail to provide appropriate services for students with other disabilities.

It goes without saying that the bill is unnecessary considering there are already programs in place for the state of Arizona for students that have varying degrees of disabilities. The public has its concerns with this bill naturally and the harmful effect it has on ASDB and the students they serve.

The pressing question with this issue is– what is the extent of the Board’s knowledge on Senate Bill 1402 and what actions are they taking to ensure this bill does not get passed?

Submission 8

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Agenda Item
Name
Valeria Campos
Choose One
Current StaffArizona Resident
Date
02/27/2023
Subject
Regarding a contract given to a teacher
Comments
This comment is in regards to a contract that was given to a teacher for the upcoming 2023-2024 school year. As the board knows, there was a situation recently in relations with a teacher and a student that made headlines. An investigation was apparently underway and the entire staff and community was left in the dark when it came to answers or a decision of sorts. Instead, the community has to essentially find out that the said teacher was offered a contract renewal. This is extremely upsetting considering all the community and staff alike wants is transparency.

Where is the transparency in this decision to grant a teacher that has caused harm within the student, school, and community a contract renewal?

Submission 9

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Agenda Item
Name
Amy Young
Choose One
Parent of Current Student
Date
02/27/2023
Subject
Kari Gemar
Comments
Good evening,
I am wanting to discuss the renewal of Kari Gemar. Since November 4th 2022 I have been seeming and informed by current students, former students, parents of students, current staff members and former staff members, that Kari has been verbally abusing students since she has started at PDSD, 36 years ago. I have heard horror stories from these people. Which I have no idea how she has gotten away with this. She has also verbally abused a current student at PDSD in front of my son. Since then he has hated school and has been terrified to go to school. He has only came back because of a safety plan. He use to love school and never have issues at school. He has been bullied since this has happened. These children feel they can bully other students since the teacher does it and gets away with it. There are 3 boys at the school who have a safety plan against Kari. I for one have no idea why there should even be a safety plan against a Teacher or Staff member at the school. That itself should cause for termination. I know that if Kari Gemar contract gets renewed for 2023/2024 school year my son will not be attending. I strongly believe you guys should listen and read these stories about Kari Gemar and then give it an honest thought if her contract should be renewed. Would you allow your children to attend a school if a teacher like that worked there?
Thank you

Submission 10

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Agenda Item
Name
Lester Neipert
Choose One
Current Staff
Date
02/27/2023
Subject
Distance Itinerant Program
Comments
I wanted to voice my concern regarding the absorption of the distance itinerant program under the regional directors. This type of move or transition will provide a disservice to our customers, which are our students along with special education staff. Having a central point to manage this program is crucial and doing away with this will not be a smart move. Relationships have been developed with special education staff along with students. Allowing this program to fall under regional directors would mean breaking relationships that have been made along with a period of reeducation for regional directors who already are task saturated. Furthermore, most distant itinerant teachers have students that are spread throughout the state. The realignment that would need to take place with students and staff would hinder the educational progression instead of the forward, positive progression and relationships that it has made. As teachers, especially within the world of special education, developing a relationship and trust with our students is a critical element. This isn’t something that happens overnight, but rather overtime and countless hours being put in to get to know the student. If you were to ask any special needs student, one of the number one complaints is constant change with staff. Lastly, you have staff, like myself, that were hired on to specifically fill a distance teaching position. My biggest fear is that by placing my position under regional directors instead of the distance team, my position will become somewhat of a hybrid type position. Meaning that, if needed, the regional director will utilize me as an in-person teacher and distance teacher. This wasn’t what I signed up for, I signed up and was hired to be a distance itinerant teacher. Sadly for me, along with other reasons which I have already addressed with the board, if I am not returned to the position for which I was hired I will regretfully decline to sign my contract. With the pandemic of teachers leaving the profession throughout the United States, it would be nice for our word to be heard.

Submission 11

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Agenda Item
Name
Marci Barenburg
Choose One
Parent of Current Student
Date
02/27/2023
Subject
Agenda items 6.17, 6.18 and 7.02
Comments
It is my sincere opinion that Kari Gemar should not be offered a contract for the upcoming school year. Not only do three students have safety plans naming her as the aggressor, set up by the school, those safety plans have been broken multiple times since the Dec 5th start date. Most recently it was broken severely enough that a judge found it prudent to grant an injunction against harassment no contact order. These are extreme actions that parents should not feel compelled to take for their student to be safe at school.

As I expressed at the last board meeting, I do not believe Annette Reichman should not be renewed for another school year. She has been difficult to work with as a parent in more than just this current school year. She makes statements that go directly against what the policies and procedures state. She told students that they would be heard on issues, and they could meet with the board but was unable to compel the board to meet with said students. She has forgotten to update parents as to what is going on with complaints on campus involving student safety. A year ago, she admitted to not prioritizing ASL and Deaf culture, no noticeable changes have been made to correct that, just promises of a committee to meet and add policy.

7.02 ASDB should not support SB 1402. PDSD has enough issues with ensuring all staff are signing at all times to allow for incidental learning of students. Now, it would be considered ok to introduce an entirely new population of students that aren’t signing, which further oppresses the Deaf students. ASDB allows students with additional disabilities on campus now as long as their primary is Deaf or Blind. President Nigro mentioned at the last board meeting that the school is underperforming on test scores. I cannot fully speak to this as I haven’t seen the numbers, but I question why any legislator would consider this an option, especially if the school, in its current state, isn’t thriving. If legislators find it necessary to add additional education centers for students with different needs, they should consider one of the campuses across the state that sit empty due to population changes. Don’t take from students that are already struggling to get their needs met.

Lastly, on a non-agenda item. David Nigro should be removed as president of the board, it appears he wields too much power and does not consider community, parent and student needs in his decision making. He has refused to meet with parent’s when all other options have failed. He has been unwilling to add agenda items or call special meetings when multiple community and or staff members have requested. He does not consider meeting with the group of students who requested his attention due to prior abuse on campus a priority.

Submission 12

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Agenda Item
Name
Eric Cardenas
Choose One
Current Student
Date
02/28/2023
Subject
Teacher Contracts
Comments
My name is Eric, I am 5th grade. Kari should not work here and she needs to fired. Kari is really mean and that happened when Kari enter my classroom and she called my friend ask him if a zoo animal and want call 911 on him. She said person not behave in world. Emily tries to stop Kari but she still continue then my friend apologize that he can’t control and he cry, then Kari stop and leave classroom. My friend was really sad, I was mad. I told my mom. My mom and other friend told his mom and the moms talk about it out loud and tiktok when Kari knows she started staring at me and (other friend), she stand close and mean looks. She make me feel not safe in school I stay home a lot of days because Kari scare me. Teachers should not make kid feel like this. I now have safety plan but Kari break it, she in cafeteria, why? New student but why new student in Kari class when Kari mean to her class now. My mom talking about changing my school, I want go to PDSD I explain I need a prepare for middle school in PDSD. I not want trouble because Kari. Kari should go not me. She really mean. When I try joke with friend and he cry I get in trouble and school call my mom, but Kari not in trouble. I not try to be mean. She need to go and quit PDSD but no one stop her. I need principal Jill to fired Kari, teacher not teach if make kid want to hurt himself, suicided. She stay in classroom next to us and break safety plan. Why she can’t stop?

Submission 13

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Agenda Item
Name
Raul Cardenas
Choose One
Parent of Current Student
Date
02/28/2023
Subject
Contracts and SB 1402
Comments
I think the school should not extend a 2023-2024 contract to Kari Gemar. It is appalling that after all the things she has done this year she was sent to leadership training this week. Why is she in a leadership role? She sets a poor example for other teachers and for students. Her behaviors are unacceptable. I also feel that she is a liability to the school. It has been shown that she has a long history of abusive behavior and the school will no longer be able to pretend they don’t know her past. It is very well documented this school year. My wife had to spend hours at the courthouse this week getting a no contact protective order against Kari because the school cannot/will not enforce their own safety plan and keep the kids she has tormented this year from having to face her. My son has had an increase in social emotional issues after having to witness what she did to his friend and her intimidation efforts after.

As far as SB 1402, this should never have been proposed. There are other options for educating other disabilities than creating a campus that is a dumping ground for all children with learning challenges. If a larger umbrella is formed and ASDB and PDSD are under that umbrella, that would be acceptable. PDSD is the only campus in Phoenix where everyone on campus is expected to communicate with my son in ASL. At any other school he would rely on interpreters and not have communication for recess time and other non-instructional time. My son has enough challenges at school to then put him in a situation where teachers are no longer required to have specialized training for Deaf and HoH students. The school needs to increase ASL on campus not drown it out.

Submission 14

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Non-Agenda Item
Name
Jose Ramirez
Choose One
Arizona Resident
Date
03/02/2023
Subject
To discuss issue.
Comments
I am an alumni of PDSD I would like to talk to ASDB boards and Superintendent about issues. AG Bell. SB 1402. A teacher works at PDSD for over 30 years.

Submission 15

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Agenda Item
Name
Elizabeth Smith
Choose One
Parent of Current Student
Date
02/28/2023
Subject
Parent of deaf children
Comments
I am a Deaf parent of 3 Deaf children, all who participate in ASDB from ages to 1-6. I disagree with this bill. Deaf and blind children need to have a place that caters to their specific educational needs. Teachers and staff are not equipped to work outside of their scope on top of their workload which will end up brushing the current students aside and getting lost. Deaf students are already been sent to mainstream and struggling, why not bring them back instead. Please don’t pass this bill.

Thank you

Submission 16

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Agenda Item
Name
Marilyn Brooks
Choose One
Current Staff
Date
02/28/2023
Subject
Contract offer to Rosetta Hicks & not to offer contract to Jay Johnson
Comments
I understand that for the 2023-24 school year, Superintendent Reichman does not intend to offer the Statewide Itinerant Director, Jay Johnson a contract but does intend to offer one to the Region 2 director, Rosetta Hicks. In my opinion, the result of both of these actions would be a huge mistake. Thank you for allowing me to explain myself.
Regions 1 and 3, under the direction of Stephanie Johnson and Jason Lilly, respectively, have made tremendous strides in aligning the work together for the betterment of our itinerant staff, our students, and our partnering school districts and charters. Conversely, Region 2, under the direction of Rosetta Hicks, has not fully embraced the ACT principles of ASDB. She has chosen to remain separate from the other regions. She has requested and been permitted to report directly to Assistant Superintendent Martin rather than to the Statewide Itinerant Director. As a result of not fully participating in the redesign under Jay, in my opinion, the students and the partnering schools & charters have not and will not reap the full benefits of the Statewide itinerant initiative and vision. At least one of the school districts served by Region 2 was given inaccurate information regarding the status of their agreement with ASDB which resulted in their students with sensory impairment(s) not receiving ANY services from the ASDB itinerant staff throughout the first semester of 2022-23. Although I have not personally read or heard the complaints, it is my understanding that several districts and/or charters have expressed extreme frustration with the lack of leadership and communication from the Region 2 director. Regarding staff position vacancies, there have been a number of teachers and interpreters resign their positions, over the past year, due to lack of support and leadership from their director. Additionally, I have heard directly from a current Region 2 teacher who intends to resign at the end of this school year if the current director is offered a contract for the next school year.

Please do not allow all of this wonderful hard work and progress made by the Statewide Itinerant director, the Region 1 and Region 3 directors, and the itinerant staff to come to a halt, by not renewing Jay Johnson’s contract. Please do not allow the current director of Region 2 the opportunity for another school year to provide inferior services to our partnering districts and charters and to their students with sensory impairments. In addition to harming ASDB’s relationship with school districts, (the lifeblood of the itinerant services), we have and will continue to lose highly skilled and dedicated teachers, interpreters, and administrative assistants. Please use your authority to override both of these very flawed intentions of Superintendent Reichman. Without doubt, the bottom line is what is best for our partnering districts/charters and the precious students to whom we provide itinerant services.

Thank you, again for the opportunity to express my opinions.
Respectfully submitted,
Marilyn Brooks

Submission 17

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Name
Wenonah Holmes
Choose One
Parent of Current StudentArizona Resident
Date
02/28/2023
Subject
SB1402
Comments
Please do NOT support SB1402- it will be absolutely detrimental to our Deaf and Blind students who come here for this specialized education they cannot get elsewhere. Other disabilities can be educated elsewhere. If they need a specialized, perhaps boarding school, they can form one, but don’t destroy the purpose of this school to change that. If there is a need to bring in more students to ASDB/PDSD, then let it become a language immersion school, inviting students who wish to learn in ASL – ie CODA’s, siblings of students enrolled, or other students who wish to deepen their mastery of ASL and/or the culture and attend all or part of their school days at the ASDB/PDSD campus.
If SB1402 passes, it will cause an even greater downward spiral and this will cause more students and staff to leave ASDB/PDSD.
My son is at PDSD *FOR* its Deaf-specific curriculum and language rich environment where everyone from peers to adults on campus signs and can communicate with my child. Destroy that, why should he remain there?

Submission 18

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Agenda Item
Name
Elizabeth Ibarra
Choose One
Parent of Current Student
Date
03/02/2023
Subject
The staff who hurts children in preschool
Comments
My name is Elizbeth Ibarra and I am the mother of three children. Currently, my three children attend PDSD. First things, I am an Alumni of PDSD… I attended the program preschool to high school and I graduated in 2014. Second, I have a deaf brother, Richardo Ibarra and he graduated in 2013. We’re Alumni of PDSD. My children could be the second generation for Alumni of PDSD…..How cool is it?
have to tell you how I feel about my children’s situation at
PDSD and the preschool program. Every time my children go to PDSD and I get extremely worried. What if something happens to my children and the faculty wouldn’t inform me immediately?
My firstborn, Alexander, attended PDSD’s program preschool in
2018. Of course, I got emotional and I was glad I could find a deaf program preschool. My firstborn would learn ASL and social children who are also deaf…. However, PDSD called my mother then she informed me that something happened to my firstborn Alexander at PDSD and I cried and felt guilty. I had to go to PDSD and see what happened…I was really disappointed in Alexander’s teacher, Kristina Jackson, and the aide…I do not understand how the metal things went through Alexander’s finger and I tried to ask my firstborn a few questions…He couldn’t answer.
My second child, daughter Lizbeth, also attends PDSD. Every time Lizbeth gets home she will always tell me that she loves her deaf friends, teacher and school. If she is happy and safe then I am happy too. However, in February 2022, PDSD called my mother then she informed me that something happened to Lizbeth. I was like “What? Again?” and I cried. I had to go to PDSD and I was extremely shocked when I saw my daughter’s head bleeding! It is extremely serious that my daughter was inured and in pain! I could feel her pain! I had to take her to the hospital immediately.
I have questions….
I would like to know what happened to my children at PDSD. If you cannot tell me the situations and I will not take it. I have the right to know because they’re my children and I am an alumni of PDSD. Is that how you treat Alumni of PDSD who sent their children to PDSD?

Will you install cameras in every classroom? Only preschool. I am not asking you to do it for me…
..Do it for the parents. I can
watch my son and the parents can watch their children.
For my daughter statution and the faculty… whoever has to apologize to me and my daughter. Since no one apologizes…unacceptable!
REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Non-Agenda Item
Name
Wenonah Holmes
Choose One
Parent of Current StudentArizona Resident
Date
02/28/2023
Subject
Board members and President Nigro
Comments
Board President David Nigro is not unbiased. He has a conflict of interest, which prevents his neutrality, which works against the best interests of the deaf students attending ASDB/PDSD.

I would also like to see more Deaf members on the board. Currently it is about 2 deaf and 5 hearing, that is not at all a balanced board overseeing the school for the deaf.

Submission 19

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Agenda Item
Name
Kellie Mendoza
Choose One
Parent of Current Student
Date
02/28/2023
Subject
SB1402
Comments
Members of the board,

This agenda issue is the simplest of them all. Arizona has over 1500 schools among 291 school districts in our state, averaging 6 schools per district. Among those schools, not one includes a language accessible curriculum for the more than 2000 Deaf/and or blind students in Arizona. ASDB is the ONLY school with language accessible education curriculum for Deaf/Blind and only TWO schools for the Deaf within the entire state. Across the country there are over 19,000 pre-k-12 schools, and only 49 Deaf schools. Almost all of these schools have government funded IEP programs protected under the IDEA act. If these programs are failing the IEP students that is the government’s problem, not the Deaf community’s problem. Who is protecting and advocating for Deaf Education??? It should be everyone in this room.

At this time I’d like to include my comments directed at Arizona Senators. As the parent of a Deaf child, hopeful to attend the only school in the state that she has access to, my comments are centered around the preservation of Deaf education. I’d like the preface that I use the term “Deaf Education” interchangeably to include, deaf, blind, deafblind and hard of hearing. I know you look at our Deaf schools and you see only 2,000 students compared to your 112,000 IEP students statewide. So you think to yourself, the funding and resources delegated to our Deaf/Blind schools are going to waste to only serve such a small percentage. Did you know that the deaf/hard of hearing individuals make up 17% of the population in Arizona? To make any amendments that eviscerate the federal protection for education for this oppressed minority is an attack on every other minority group that makes up 17% or less of the population. These groups would include but not limited to Native American Indians, Native Hawaiian/pacific Islanders, and all children in Arizona having a disability which makes up only 5.3% ofArizona Students. Between 2-5 out of every 1,000 children in Arizona have a hearing loss. Those children have a right to a fully accessible and equal education for individual success and civilian productivity to society. In short, DEAF CHILDREN MATTER! You looked at a failing program and decided to offload your responsibility to do better for the 5% onto another oppressed and underserved education program that is being failed and ignored by Arizona legislators. Is this really the best you can do or are we stepping back into a time where we neglect the rights to equality of minority groups? Preserve Deaf/Blind education in Arizona.

Submission 20

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Agenda Item
Name
Faye Nordstrom
Choose One
Arizona Resident
Date
02/28/2023
Subject
SB1402
Comments
SB1402 will decimate Deaf and Blind Education here in AZ. It is NOT a benefit to any population served, or proposed to be served, by ASDB and PDSD. Since Deaf schools teach primarily by sign language, how will other non Deaf children get an education.

Public schools already have special education classes, so having special education classes that are already being served by public schools seems redundant.

Faye Nordstrom

ATTACHED SUBMISSION DOCUMENT TEXT:

SB1402 will decimate Deaf and blind Education here in AZ.  It is NOT a benefit to any population served, or proposed to be served, by ASDB and PDSD. 

Deaf children already struggle and most start school at a disadvantage. Over 90 percent of deaf children are born to hearing parents and therefore don’t have a fully accessible language from the day they’re born. Children born to parents who themselves are Deaf or fortunately know how to sign already come into preschool ready to learn letters and counting, while most of the other students in preschool are now learning a new language. All deaf children need the right to a fully accessible language during the critical language acquisition period. It is a huge disservice to deprive them of sign language because the parents choose the option offered by ASDB of relying solely on listening and spoken language. We are NOT being smart when we allow the option of only using listening and spoken language instead of ALSO including ASL. Deaf children should be given EVERY tool and resource possible for their success. After they have that foundation, they are set. If they have enough hearing to drop ASL, that’s fine!  No harm done! But if they find that they do not have enough hearing after all to get by solely with listening and spoken language, then we’ve deprived them and they don’t have a solid linguistic foundation for later success. We will then have caused irreversible damage.  Even if an audiologist tells the parent that the child hears well enough to be successful as s/he has 80% of their hearing – that’s still only 80% – the other 20% is missing and the little child, who doesn’t yet have a full understanding of language and world, is at a disadvantage working hard to fill in that missing 20%. That’s not good enough nor acceptable.

Back to SB1402 – if this bill is passed, it will be the end of the current (mediocre) level of Blind and Deaf Education for our youth.  If you add in “other impaired” that are not deaf or blind, these other children would also be at a disadvantage because PDSD/ASDB teach to the Deaf and blind in their unique ways that are tailored for them.  Do you expect these other children to learn how to sign? Or to learn without visuals?  There are schools for them – if there isn’t an adequate school that can meet their needs, create a separate one. This bill will ultimately destroy Deaf culture.

SB1402 is bad for teachers:  PDSD employs many Deaf adults as teachers, staff, administrators and so on. Throwing in a bunch of children that they cannot communicate with would be creating a discriminatory preference for hearing teachers.  Now what are all those gainfully employed Deaf adults going to do? I imagine many will probably leave the state with their families to work elsewhere. 

SB1402 is bad for children:  This exodus of Deaf role models from the school then creates a huge void of language models for Deaf children (remember most are born to hearing parents) hurting deaf education even more. 

SB1402 will negatively impact parents/families:  Deaf children need a good education to realize their potential.  A Special Ed teacher untrained in Deaf Ed wouldn’t be sufficient for Deaf children.  

If you feel the need to add more students to ASDB, then let’s make it a language/culture immersion school.  Invite students such as CODAs whose native language is ASL from their Deaf parents, siblings of students at the school already, and any others who wish to deepen their ASL skills by learning in ASL and English.  These would enrich and expand the peer group our Deaf children need.  We must preserve that accessibility to the language-rich environment at PDSD.  This would have the benefit of raising the educational quality and make ASDB/PDSD more attractive to those seeking quality education for their children.  

This bill will ultimately destroy Deaf culture, much as Graham Bell tried to destroy Deaf culture.

Sincerely, 

Faye Nordstrom

January 19 2023 Public Comment Submissions

Submission 1

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Agenda Item
Name
Amy Young
Choose One
Parent of Current Student
Date
01/14/2023
Subject
Safety of our children
Comments
I would like to address why there is a teacher on campus who has verbally abused multiple of students. My son has to be in the classroom next door! I don’t understand why nothing has been done. Instead they have safety plans. There is no reason that there should even be a safety plan in effect against a student and staff. This should not be a thing at all. Our children deserve to have their place that they feel where they fit in and that’s at PDSD. They should not fear to go to school or who is in their school. We have heard no response from anyone about this situation and it has been over 2 months. Us as parents deserve to know what is going on. Thank you

Submission 2

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Agenda Item
Name
Marci Barenburg
Choose One
Parent of Current Student
Date
01/15/2023
Subject
Parental Concerns
Comments
Over the last few years, when parental concerns are brought forward, he school leadership uses avoidance tactics regarding student first inclusion to purposefully try to exhaust the community efforts without having to enforce policies and maintain a safe and effective learning environment for children.
o The lack of communication and effective resolution has forced parents to seek support from formal complaint departments including OCR, the State Board of Education, and Arizona Disability Law. All of which could have been avoided if the leadership would have taken an active role in seeking a clearer understanding of the situation and provided adequate resolution.
o This has also led to social media campaigns, a new community group focused on positive change for the campus, and a petition to address the situation.
o There has been substantial evidence of concerns brought up regarding specific personnel that have gone unaddressed and pushed under the rug. In one circumstance, the evidence was compelling enough that three students have safety plans protecting them from a teacher at the Phoenix campus. These teachers continue to hold leadership roles within the elementary school with a lack of regard of how it impacts the students and other teachers.

I am disappointed in the lack of initiative by the Board to engage although all administrative attempts have been exhausted.
o Prior to understanding all of the board policies, the board had been included on e-mails; however, I still believe it was appropriate due to the nature of the concern. They also received notifications from change.org of the more than 5000 people who agree that further action should be taken.
o It is disappointing that the board also refuses to engage the community and help try to bring resolution to parental concerns recently and in the past.

Submission 3

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Agenda Item
Name
Fred Leslie
Choose One
Current Staff
Date
01/17/2023
Subject
Support for John Counts
Comments
Dear Board Members of ASDB,     I am writing this letter in support of John Counts regarding his wrongful termination by ASDB.     John is one of those people that truly has the best interests of the students in mind in whatever he does.     I have worked with John during his whole 26 years at ASDB. I have seen John work many of those hours volunteering to do things that would benefit students; preparing the school garden, driving a school van to California for the Braille Olympics, working many weekends for special student activities, and on and on, etc., etc.     When I was an Instructional Assistant (IA), John trained us on dealing with students that had behavioral issues. When having to be in physical contact with students, John always showed us the safest procedures so the students and the staff would have the least possibility of being injured.  I actually had to use a takedown move on a boy who was trying to attack me because I would not let him play with the dead birds he secretly kept in his dorm room. I’m sure I could have done a better job, but the move  worked and the boy calmed down. In the excitement of the moment, I’m surprised I actually remembered what John taught me.     I did my best to keep the student and myself safe, as I believe John has always done with the students he has had to interact with, even in the situation John was involved in.     I don’t think someone with 26 years of experience dealing with students and their behavioral issues should be fired after their one and only incident. Especially when that staff person is actually trying to prevent a student from getting into a further dangerous situation.     I pray you will reverse this very, over-reactive decision, find a more appropriate resolution, and keep John on in his many needed positions at the Tucson campus.   Sincerely, Fred Leslie

Submission 4

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Non-Agenda Item
Name
Amanda Anderson
Choose One
Current Staff
Date
01/17/2023
Subject
Job Performance of Jay Johnson
Comments
Dear board members

My name is Amanda Anderson. I am the supervising teacher for region 1. I have been with ASDB for 9 years and in that time I have worked with many different directors and have seen upper administration come and go.

Since ASDB hired Jay Johnson as the Statewide Director of Itinerant services he has begun a statewide redesign that has taken a once very divided ineffective Itinerant program to a program that I am happy to be an inclusive part of.

Prior to the redesign we were regional cooperatives that ran as islands all alone. Once we began to set up distance services we started seeing the inequities across the state within ASDB.

In the time since Jay has come on we have a new director in region 1 Stephanie Johnson and in region 3 Jason Lilly. Stephanie and Jason bring strong knowledge and skills to ASDB that compliment the redesign that Jay began. I would like to highlight a few things that Jay Johnson has brought to ASDB and express my gratitude and appreciation for him and the work that he has done.

All itinerant students have access to sign language interpreters no matter where they are in the state
Students’ services are truly based on needs for specially designed instruction.
Process and procedures are being aligned statewide. Causing less inequity across the state.
Statewide communication and alignment of services

Given the opportunity for Jay to continue his statewide work with the support of the regional directors, ASDB can continue to improve and build up our statewide itinerant programs which will in turn support recruitment of staff and services to students. Any consideration in not retaining the Statewide director would be a disservice to ASDB and the work that has been done.

Thank you

Respectfully

Amanda Anderson

Submission 5

REQUEST TO ADDRESS BOARD
Select One
Non-Agenda Item
Name
Marilyn Brooks
Choose One
Current Staff
Date
01/17/2023
Subject
My insights into the job performance of Jay Johnson
Comments
Greetings ASDB Board members,

I hope each of you is doing well.

My name is Marilyn Brooks, I am an HI teacher in Region 1. I am also the lead teacher for the Statewide Distance program. I would like to share with you my insights into the job performance of Jay Johnson, the director of the Statewide Distance program and the Statewide Itinerant director.

I am in my fifteenth year working at ASDB, as an itinerant teacher. I have worked under a number of directors, first in the Eastern Highlands Cooperative and in Region 1, since the reorganization began. Some of those directors were more effective and available to their staff than others. In my opinion, Jay Johnson is hands-down the best and most inclusive director I have worked under since working at ASDB. Here are a few of my thoughts:
I have never felt as valued as an employee before, ever – at any job
He is kind, supportive, inclusive, and very proactive on matters related to individual teachers and with our partnering districts
When I call him on the phone, whenever possible he makes himself available to listen carefully and offer real workable solutions or suggestions for me.
He has a wealth of resources and websites to assist teachers as they work to provide each of their students.
Admittedly, the redesign from five cooperatives to three regions has been challenging, to say the least. However, in my opinion, it is a superior model. It has taken over two years to get it where it is today. We now have statewide forms and procedures, previously each cooperative had their own. HI and VI staff respectively meet in quarterly virtual meetings to get updates on issues that impact each staff member. Jay invites guest speakers to provide information and resources related to their field of expertise.
Before making changes, whenever it is appropriate he consults with those who are familiar with the topic to seek their input. I have never know him to make a knee-jerk decision regarding the redesign, or our teachers.
As the lead teacher for the Statewide Distance program, I work under the direct supervision of Jay. He has consistently supported me and helped me understand a process when working either with our Distance teachers or with our partnering districts and charters
His approach with our teachers is that to treat each as an individual rather than just one more HI or VI teacher
In my opinion, it would be a giant step backward to remove Jay Johnson from his current job positions.

Thank you for your time.

Very respectfully yours,

Marilyn Brooks